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    HDFC Coops – The Best Deal in New York City Real Estate?

    HDFC Coops – The Best Deal in New York City Real Estate

    Have you been frustrated with the high prices for apartments in New York City?  Well here’s the good news:  If you have ever wanted to live in New York City at an affordable price, well, look no further.  If you qualify, you may have just found the greatest deal in New York City. 

    HDFC Coops, a little know niche market in New York Real Estate, represent the “last great deals” in New York City.  Frequently these cooperative apartments sell for 40%-60% below there comparable regular Coop or Condos for sale.  HDFC’s (which stands for Housing Development  & Finance Corporation) have been around for many years but it is not until the last few years that more and more people are discovering these amazing deals.  They are only available in New York City although there may be other programs in other cities that are similar.

    The History of HDFC’s

    HDFC coops are city sponsored coop apartments that offer many of the benefits of a regular coop apartment but they also have some restrictions on purchase and they frequently have a “flip tax” upon sale. 

    An HDFC coop came to be for one of a couple possible reasons.  They may have been originally a rental building which had been abandoned by an owner or the owner may have owed back taxes or water and therefore lost the building to the city. 

    The City then rehabilitated the building, trained the tenants on ownership, set the Coop up financially to be self-sustaining, and then sold the apartments to the existing tenants for $250 each.  Yes, that’s right, $250!

    The premise is that rather then the City being a landlord, you have now trained a group of owners who care about their building and their future.  It has been a very successful system. 

    Typically over the years these HDFC coops changed hands among friends or relatives for very cheap prices.  In the past several years, some brokers with foresight have realized the value these Coops represent, and upon being marketed more professionally, much higher prices have been realized for the Owners. 

    Benefits

    This has benefited both the buyer and seller of an HDFC apartment.  A seller now has realized much more money than they ever thought possible and they have a chance to realize their dreams.  Many sellers of HDFC coops have gone on to move to the suburbs and buy a house or take a dream vacation, buy a nicer car, and live a nicer lifestyle.  Remember, the original owners of HDFC coops were there because they typically lived in a run-down neglected building so to get $150,000-as much as $500,000 for one of these apartments which they paid only $250 for is a huge windfall.

    The buyer is getting a chance to own a piece of New York City, one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world, for a fraction of the price of regular Coops or Condos.  Very often, HDFC coops sell for $400-$600 per square foot where as coops and condos in New York can sell for $900-$3000 per square foot.  This is clearly a huge difference. 

    Don’t think these HDFC’s are in bad neighborhood’s either because many of these are in prime New York City neighborhood’s such as the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Lower East Side, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

    Downside

    Does it sound too good to be true?  Well it isn’t too good to be true, but you must qualify to buy.  In many cases, to qualify to buy and HDFC coop, you need to make less than 120% of the areas Median Income.  In 2008, this number was $64,500 for 1 buyer and $73,725 for 2 buyers in a family and $82,950 for 3 buyers in a family.  Alternatively, some buildings, depending on the by-laws of the coop, have income restrictions to buy based on a multiple of the yearly maintenance and utility charges that the apartment has.  In either case, usually the management company and/or the Board of Directors of the coop will look at the adjusted gross income of your previous 2 years tax returns. 

    In addition to an income restriction to buy, many HDFC Coop’s have a “flip tax” when you sell.  Typically, this flip tax is calculated as a percentage of the profit that you make.  The profit is defined as the sale price minus the purchase price.  The flip tax could be as low as 5% and can range up to as much as 85% of your profit. 

    Clearly you need to take these factors into account and depending on the flip tax the Coop has, the price and value of the apartment may vary greatly. 

    Summary

    We have seen that an HDFC coop represents a great opportunity to own a piece of the “greatest city in the world” at a fraction of the price of other coops and condos but with that comes some restrictions on purchasing and upon selling you often have to give a portion of your profit back to the coop and/or the city.  

    Tips when buying or selling an HDFC Coop

    Find a broker who understands the rules and restrictions of HDFC Coops.  There are many intricacies to the process and if a buyer or seller is not qualified properly, you may find yourself wasting a lot of time just to find out you can’t buy or sell the apartment. 

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